Interview With An Engineer

Posted April 24, 2012 by

I am a principle engineer and work in the field of telecommunications. I have worked in wire and cable/telecommunication for the past 23 years.

I develop new products and processes for manufacturing telecommunication cables. First, a potential project is identified. Then a plan for developing the product is made. Upon having an approved plan we identify the equipment that is necessary and the processes that are needed to make the proposed product, order any tooling or materials that are necessary, and then develop the manufacturing process to make the product. Once the product is made it then goes through a series of tests to make sure that it meets the requirements. If not, we identify the potential solutions and do further testing.

One common misunderstanding is that although the solution appears easy, a great deal of effort goes into making the solution as simple as possible.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate my job satisfaction a 9. I believe complete satisfaction in my position would come if we always had access to the resources necessary to accomplish the tasks we are given.

I love my job because I am paid to play. I have definitely found my calling. In the field of engineering you are only as good as your ability to solve problems on your own. I happen to enjoy problem solving; therefore, it only made sense for me to pursue this particular field of work.

I got started in this job as a result of an on-campus interview. I really didn’t know much about telecommunications when I started, but felt it was a good opportunity, and it fit with other skill sets I possessed. I am very satisfied with the way things have progressed over the years, so I do not feel it would be necessary to go back and change anything.

In the field of engineering, you learn a lot by trial and error. Initially, I was surprised to learn that when developing a new product, there are often many failures which contribute to the final, successful product.
I have learned many things while in this field for the past 23 years—most of them I learned the hard way. You can basically have a job done cheap, fast, or right. Pick two. I also learned there are some things you just cannot speed up.

The strangest thing that has happened to me in this job is when things that you think will never work wind up turning out to work beautifully.

The reason I get up and go to work each day is because I have fun figuring out how to do something I didn’t know how to do yesterday. I felt good when the CEO of our company referred to me as one of the best cable engineers in the world.

In this field there are many times throughout my day when I want to pull my hair out. One example that causes me frustration is when the requirements for a particular project keep changing. The major challenges associated with this position are getting the resources necessary to start and complete a particular task.

The stress level in my job depends on whether or not the project I am working on is going well. If the job is going well, my stress level is low. On the other hand, if the job is not going well, my stress level can be considerably high. For the most part, I have decent hours and am able to leave my job at work.

Engineers can make anywhere between $50-80,000. While a job in engineering will not make you rich, you can earn a comfortable salary.

I get four weeks of vacation each year. It can sometimes be difficult to use all four weeks; therefore, I would say it is more than enough.

In order to be considered for a position as an engineer, you need to have a Bachelor’s degree in either Electrical or Mechanical Engineering. Problem solving skills, creativity skills, and self-motivation are the biggest skills that are needed in this field.

If I had a friend who wanted to pursue the field of engineering I would say that if you need to know the specifics of what you will be doing, then this is probably not the job for you. Development involves doing things that have never been done. You have to have some level of creativity. “You can’t make anything fool proof because the fool will outsmart you every time.”

If I could write my own ticket, I would be doing exactly what I am doing in five years.


This is a true story as told to DiversityJobs, where you can find career interviews for the job you’ve been looking at and available positions in your desired field.

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